Issues with African Alliances

The alliance system is a fantastic way to add diversity to the African civs. However, there is a significant imbalance in the utility of the various age up alliances. Some options like Portuguese and Moroccans are basically essential, while other options like Indians or Akan are kind of a waste. This is a major difference between the civs, with Ethiopia having so many essential age ups that it is hard to fit them all in, and Hausa having so few that it makes choosing an alliance trivial.

Some tweaks to the benefits the alliances provide and the cards they synergize with would help them become more uniformly viable and lead to greater gameplay diversity. For reference, here are the current alliance options:

Ethiopians ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ ‎ Hausa

image image

General Changes

The alliances that provide access to mercenaries should alter the cost of those mercenaries to be ~25% coin. That would allow it to still provide the benefit of easier affordability even if the mercenary happened to already be available.

The age up options that correspond to minor civs should have some additional benefit not generally attainable from the minor civ. One easy way to do this could be to enable relavent mercenaries. Zenata Riders for Berbers, Sennar Horsemen for Sudanese, Dahomey Amazons for Akan, etc. This would also synergize with a cost split mentioned above.

Habesha (Ethiopia II)

This option is okay if you’re gunning for a fast fortress since it gives coin and lets you get an aura that improves your defense. However, it tends to get sidelined by other better options.

One deficiency with this age up are the Kingdom Builders it enables. Compared to their Hausa equivalents, Ethiopian Kingdom Builders are much worse. You can spend 400 influence to construct a 150w Monastery compared to Hausa getting a 200w 200c University out of their Kingdom Builders. One way to fix this would be to alter the card Tabot to add even more coin at the expense of increasing Mountain Monastery cost.

This could be taken even further by shifting Tabot from a card to a technology and making it a precursor to Ark of the Covenant (Tabots are replicas of the commandments or ark). Ark of the Covenant could also be made more in line with Tabot by making Monasteries slowly replenish their coin instead of producing automatically. It should also add to their initial coin as Tabot does. So with both upgrades, you could have Monasteries that cost 400 wood that start off with 3000 coin that slowly replenishes (up to a maximum amount).
image Tabotimage Ark of the Covenant
So that Monasteries do not become useless if a Habesha age up is not selected, this upgrade path should be made a default tech. Tabot could be restricted to age 3, and Ark of the Covenant to age 5. To make room for this, Book of Axum could become the Habesha technology. This would work well with the alliance’s other tech that shifts Monasteries to a more military role.
image Book of Axum
Becomes a Habesha technology. Instead of increasing their build limit and disabling their gathering, it could instead reduce their population requirement to 1. That would give it both economic or military usefulness

Portuguese (Ethiopia II)

The upcoming changes to the Portuguese Crusaders tech are going to push it into overpowered territory. Additionally, the actual events it was based on involved a contingent of Portuguese Musketeers, not Crossbowmen. It would help cut down on complexity if this technology focused on Cannoneers instead of adding yet another unit to the Ethiopian roster.
image Portuguese Crusaders
Current: Ships Crossbowmen and enables them at the War Camp
New: Ships Cannoneers and slightly reduces their cost and train time.

The Church Organs technology (ships 1 Organ Gun per Monastery) is also very expensive for what it gives you. You have to wait until age 4 to have enough Monasteries to make it so you’re not overpaying for the Organ Guns. This could be fixed by making the card Lalibela Rock Church increase the Mountain Monastery build limit by 1.

image Lalibela Rock Church
Current: Mines worked by Mountain Monasteries last 25% longer; Ships 1 Abun and Mountain Monastery Builder
New: Same as above and +1 to Mountain Monastery build limit.

Sudanese (Ethiopia II)

Enable Sennar Horsemen and split their cost to part coin.

Somali (Ethiopia II)

Enable Askaris and split their cost to part coin.

Jesuits (Ethiopia II)

This already gives a Church, so it already is much more than just taking a Jesuit site. It could have more flavour if you could train Missionaries from the Church instead of regular Priests. As of now both Missionaries and Priests are useless compared to Abuns, but if Missionaries ever got reworked to have an ability like conversion it could give a niche reason to train them.

Indians (Ethiopia III)

India is probably the worst alliance for Ethiopia. By the time you get to age 3, the natural resources that the market techs affect will be running out. The rate of shipments will also be slowed to the point where the Villager with each shipment is only a mediocre bonus. Updating their techs and cost of elephants could make them actually viable.

image Goa Followership
Current: Sends a Villager with each shipment
New: Sends a Villager and a Cow with each shipment

Compared to Hausa, Ethiopia has a much harder time getting cattle so this adjustment would fix that. Zebu cattle originate from India so it also makes a lot of sense and it would be a good excuse to update the Sacred Cow model.

image Elephant Units
The elephant units provided by the alliance are prohibitively expensive even with Good Will Agreements. Splitting their cost with another resource other than influence would go a long way to making them useable.

Based on the historic military use of elephants in Ethiopia, enabling Siege Elephants might actually be the more realistic choice (especially if Siege Elephants were made realistic). An artillery unit could also be reasonably useful for Ethiopia.

Good Will Agreements is a super generic name. Something like “Peshwa Governance” could be a more specific name that alludes to notable figures like Malik Ambar.

Oromo (Ethiopia IV)

This age up is mostly fine, it gives goats and decent economic upgrades. The only change I’d make is a small tweak to the Irreechaa technology to make constructing Fields less of a burden.

image Irreechaa
Current: Fields reward 10 influence when built
New: Fields reward 10 influence when built and are constructed faster

Arabs (Ethiopia V)

As stated above, the mercenaries enabled by this alliance should have a partial coin cost by default. Yemeni Relations could be made slightly cheaper to reflect the improvement it provides being lessened.

Berbers (Hausa II)

Berbers are useful for booming with Berber Nomads. However, the Berber Ghofars tech (slows enemies near farms) is generally useless. Replacing this tech with Berber Fantasia (gives charged attack to Berber Camels, Sultans, and Zenatas). Enabling Zenata Riders at the Palace and splitting their cost would also synergize well with this technology.

Moroccans (Hausa II)

This is an essential alliance for Hausa and provides excellent utility. However, the Zouaves it enables are too expensive to actually make use of. Instead of Zouaves, it should enable Barbary Corsairs (and split their cost with coin). They would be much easier to afford and would cover Hausa’s lack of heavy infantry.

Hausa (Hausa II)

The worst part of the alliance is that it’s just called “Hausa”. At least with the Ethiopian version, they used the term “Habesha” to differentiate it. It should use another name for the alliance such as “Habe”.

Songhai (Hausa II)

The Songhai Raid ability is reasonably useful, but the other techs this age up provides are comically bad. To even break even you need to kill 50 Musketeers (Timbuktu Chronicle) or mine 5000 coin (Mansa Musa Epic). Yes, these might be useful in treaty, but they should at least have some use case in supremacy.

There’s also the fact that Mansa Musa was a Malian from long before the Songhai Empire. Therefore, Mansa Musa Epic should be replaced by a new technology that references the relationship the Songhai had with the ##### river.
image Sorko Fishermen
Fishing Boats gain a small attack, additional health, and a multiplier versus treasure guardians.

This would make Songhai a solid option on water maps and let you contest the water just with your fishing fleet. It would also let you gather water treasures much more easily.

Timbuktu Chronicle also deserves a rework to make it more generally useful. Maybe something like increasing the University build limit or generation rate to reflect that Timbuktu was a center of learning and a center of trade.

image Timbuktu Chronicle
Current: receive influence equal to 10% of the cost of enemy units/buildings killed/destroyed up to that point
New: Increases University build limit, increases Trading Post contribution to +0.75, and allows Universities to be set to coin
I’m not super sure of this one, any suggestions for alternate effects?

Akan (Hausa II)

This age up offers nothing that an Akan minor civ can’t and is kinda devalued by the card Gaananci. It should also enable Dahomey Amazons and split their cost to part coin.

It also has the tech Akan Palm Oil Exports which trades all your food for wood and coin. Hausa requires a tremendous amount of food to keep up production, so this tech is essentially useless. Instead, the Akan alliance should enable the Akan Cocoa Beans tech. Hausa lacks good cards to boost the food production on Fields, so this tech would be a great addition.

Fulani (Hausa III)

The main issue with this age up is the two very dissimilar effects being crammed into the Fulani Migrations tech. The ability to chop wood is almost inconsequential and could probably be enabled by default for this alliance. The tech could then be further strengthened by combining it with the card Fulani Invasion (which is already fairly weak for an age 4 card).

image Fulani Migrations
Current: Enables Fulani Archers to chop wood and gives them a long ranged attack
New: Grants a Fulani Archer for every past and future shipment and gives them a long ranged attack

Yoruba (Hausa IV)

This alliance is okay, and does synergize with some cards to give a strong fast Industrial strategy. Unfortunately, there aren’t really any mercenaries from the region to add on to bolster the alliance beyond what you get from the minor civ. The best I can think of is enabling a potential Leopard Prowler outlaw from the region.

The main issue I see is that there isn’t much justification for this being an age 4 alliance. If it were moved earlier, I don’t see it being unbalanced.

Bornu (Potential Hausa IV)

This isn’t actually an alliance option, but it was a regional power abutting the Hausa, so it would make sense to include it just like the Songhai are. It would obviously enable Kanuri Guards since they are from there. I’m not sure what specific technologies they should have, but it should be something strong enough to warrant an age 4 position. If another alliance needs to be displaced to fit this one, I’d remove either Akan or Yoruba.

British (Hausa V)

The only issue with this one is that it locks the Arsenal to age 5. The techs it enables are so darn expensive that maybe it would be okay to just have it available for age 4 instead.


The elephants provided to them can already have faster train times, MORE RANGE, arsenal upgrades and much more. Nothing to buff there. Their Howdahs have more range than the Indian ones, the cards to India are available to them just as RESEARCH that too very cheaply. Thats more than enough.


I never said they weren’t good units. My point is that they’re too expensive to actually use.

Its a worth trade-off, and also keeping in check that they
dont become India in late game and spam 12 18-ranged howdahs :+1:t3:

You’re not going to make it to the late game if you pick the Indian alliance. By age 3 the market and Villager shipment is too little too late. And you can’t afford the Howdahs until the extreme late game.

If Howdahs are going to be too busted alongside the other aspects of the alliance actually being good, then they could just be swapped out with Siege Elephants to keep the alliance in check.


This will way over-synergise with labibela rock church, it doesnt just give yield on vils gathering, but also yield on the auto gather by like 1000%

ark of the covenant gives ethiopia about an unupgraded factory’s worth of gold as it is

if this is implemented and you put the mountain monastery on like coal mines or the treasure ship on some maps then it becomes potentially infinite (or near infinite) gold at like 2.59 per monastery ( or even play with US ally and just have them ship black mesa)

way too dangerous

You can put the Monastery on treasure ships?

I did consider coal mines. As long as the rate of replenishment is significantly slower than the coal mining rate then you wouldn’t actually be able to get infinite mining at those insane rates. The maximum they could be filled to could be set low at 3000 coin. Then you’d have to switch between Monasteries while depleted ones refill so you’d only have short bursts of fast gathering.

The auto-gathering part might be an issue. Is it a fixed rate of 0.86 coin/sec or is it higher for coal mines and such?

yep, it has the same gather rate as coal mines

its doubled on coal mines, and the gather rates are affected by things like market techs and gathering upgrade cards, the maximum rate is like 3.4 per second

a “normal” mine is effectively half this at like 1.7 g/s
and with the rock church card it depletes at 1/10th the speed of what the gather rate is

if you have it on a normal mine, then you have a deplete rate of 0.17 on auto gather

on a coal mine the deplete rate is 0.34

your regen rate will have to be pretty low, in which case it may not be worth it compare to just auto gather without the mine

I was thinking something like regenerating ~1 coin/sec. That would be enough that they could continuously auto-gather and slowly replenish to support a few gatherers off of a cluster of Monasteries.

If you wanted to support more gatherers then you’d have to destroy and rebuild them to get the bonus initial coin. If you’re rebuilding them from scratch then coal mines aren’t an issue anymore.

What’s the auto gather rate without the mine? They could just set the regen rate to let it be comparable to that.


if this is to be your regen rate then it effectively makes coal mines infinite on auto gather and you get what is about 3 vils worth of gold gathering for free per monastery (vils gather normally at monastery at about 1.26 at max)

which works out to like 18 ish vils on coin for no pop.

at that point its more efficient just to take 1 of the monastery (so have 5 on auto gather) so you have like 15 worth of free gathering and then have 1 single monastery for 20 vils to gather from so you get like 36 total vils on coin with 15 free pop.

The Indian Alliance in Ethiopia is not weak, but its era is too unfortunate. As an option of era II to era III, it seems to come a little late. If the Indian Alliance is an option of era I to era II, additional market technology and farmers who give cards are absolute advantages, which can have a strong linkage with the Jesuits influence card, but it is an option of era II to era III (laugh)


a aliança com índia deveria ser na idade 2 e a aliança akan deveria dar algo melhor

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There are only a couple of maps with enough coal mines to do that, and they will run out long before you get to age 5 unless you’re on treaty. So overall it is an unlikely situation but still a valid point.

Ideally what I’d like to achieve is to have Tabot and Ark of the Covenant be a set of default techs that allow you to continually use Mountain Monasteries in a way that doesn’t involve constantly breaking and rebuilding them and still involves being worked by Villagers and Abuns. The way Ark of the Covenant works with a second type of auto-gathering that is infinite seems kinda at odds with the rest of the function of Mountain Monasteries.

Tweaking the effects of Labibela Rock Church, Tabot and Ark of the Covenant could get you a workable solution that isn’t too overturned. If you made their effects as follows, you wouldn’t be able to have infinite coal mines.

image Labibela Rock Church (Age II Card)
- Ships an Abun and Mountain Monastery Builder and give +1 build limit to both
- +25% yield for Monastery gatherers and +300% yield for Monastery auto-gather

image Tabot (Age III Technology)
- Adds 2000 coin to each future and existing Mountain Monastery
- Increases Mountain Monastery cost to 300 wood

image Ark of the Covenant (Age V Technology)
- +125% yield for Monastery gatherers
- +125% health
- Mountain Monasteries regenerate coin at a rate of 0.5 coin/sec
- Increases Mountain Monastery cost to 450 wood

With only +300% yield and 0.5 coin/sec regeneration, any auto-gathering faster than 2 coin/sec would eventually deplete the Mountain Monastery. When a Mountain Monastery is depleted it reverts to the default rate (I verified this in game). That would take care of your infinite coal mine issue. At this rate of replenishment, you could support about 1 Villager per 2 Mountain Monasteries even without rebuilding anything. You’d also be somewhat disincentivized to just destroy and rebuild them if they were triple the cost.

tbh this will just be a matter of game design but I think thats part of the point, being allowed what is essentially a seemless transition from mines to lategame gold that doesnt come at the cost of reduced rate has to come at an incredibly high price and the devs has made it to be your apm and attention.

the ark of the covenant thing is kinda because its two different build path that is almost designed to discourage you to go into them together (like how Hausa has 2 ways to allow you to get goats that totally goes against each other)

the 2 habesha techs encourages you to use mountain monastery as a forward building since it buffs all your unit and building HP (its a net stack irrc) and it also heals ur units and so the ark of the covenant allows you to still get gold generation from it even if you are plopping it down in the middle of a forward where there are no gold. You are not going to use them as gold gather point with tabot and expose like 20-40 vils in the front

If you are going to utiise habesha there is no point to going tabot or Rock church, you can use those card slots for something else.

If you are going tabot and rock church, then likewise there is little incentive for you to go habesha and get that auto gather, you can go with another alliance

like note how ethiopia has no HC cards that only boost the gather rate of of gold on fields like hausa, they have explicitly designed such that all of their gold boosting tech also boost the rate on mountain monastery, be it the auto gather or it being tabot

I think this is a correct assessment of what they were trying to design. But it’s not correct to say this is how it functions in practice.

What!? Do you mean the Morocco and Fulani alliances? Those aren’t totally against each other at all. If anything they’re complementary.

I don’t think this is the case at all. Sending Tabot and Laliebela Rock Church to rebuild them is always beneficial. The only thing that pushes you not to is how Book of Axum bars your Abuns from gathering.

I don’t think that was ever their intention. Constantly rebuilding them is seen as almost an exploit. That’s why they’re reducing their bonus coin to 900 next patch. That’s why I went with the approach of increasing their cost with each improvement. That way you wouldn’t have to rebuild them so much.

The focus also shouldn’t just be on coin. Contrast this with Hausa who just has constant infinite influence generation for their Universities and you can see the disparity.

One adjustment to what I proposed before would probably fix this:

image Ark of the Covenant (Age V Technology)

  • +150% influence yield for Monastery gatherers
  • +100% health (possibly move to Timkat)
  • Mountain Monasteries regenerate coin at a rate of 0.5 coin/sec
  • Increases Mountain Monastery cost to 450 wood

That would make it so you’d get significantly more total resources by setting your Monasteries to maximum influence generation and you’d only be getting good coin income from their auto-gathering.

how are they complementary? one gives you goats for every shipment while the other outright gives you the ability to train goats. if you have fulani and just makes the goats it completely negates the morrocan tech, you dont get any additional goats beyond the build limit

if you are building and pushing with mountain monastery for the heal and HP aura then its a obvious target to be sniped, so unless you are suicidal enough to do the rebuilding and collecting with tabot in the middle of the map with 20-30 vils where all the fighting happens or you gonna build the monastery in the back to gather and waste the HP and heal effects from Timkat. The abuns are crucial to providing heal support in these monastery push so you dont even want them gathering.

if it wasnt their intention then they could have just made it as a one time deposit and not affect newly built monastery, the fact that that effect is still present in the game shows atleast they are sticking with this direction

The monastery doesnt extract just the gold rate from mines when its set to the other modes, its not like your mines will last longer if you set it to generate influence

it still extract x amount of gold from the mines, it just gives you % of that res value as gold and as influence instead of 100% as gold

there is a huge difference between hausa and ethiopia, in that the main usage of influence, the mercs have split cost with gold with the arab alliance and combined with loyal warriors cost 30% less. hausa has to pay it with influence in full (-15% with loyal warriors) and the hausa infrastructure is much harder to optimise (requiring 3 buildings minimum) and even map control for TP. They are 2 different civs that can utlise the resource very differently

ethiopia is considered OP even in treaty just at their current influence rate and even sending inf 300 influence (which becomes 500 with the jesuit influence), like that whould be enough to tell you how it fares at the moment

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Habesha is also good for Abun booming. If you gather 300 extra gold you can max abuns as soon as you age up.

They are still great for building tcs and palaces. You can batch train them fast in transition to age 3 without interrupting your tc queue and have them on the field ready to build tcs as soon as you hit age 3. There are similar techs like this that provide bad value. You can spend 200 influence to train a Hausa builder to build a 100 wood house. That doesn’t mean Hausa’s houses need a buff, it just means you shouldn’t train a Hausa builder to use it in this way. Similarly the simplest solution is to not build a Monastery from a kingdom builder.

From what I understand from your proposal a monastery won’t be worth more than 400 resources until after the arc of the covenant tech that you propose to move to age 5. So for the entire game before age 5 it would still be bad to build a monastery with the builder. Maybe they could just remove the ability to make a monastery with a kingdom builder so that new players to the civ don’t overestimate the value.

Personally I like using xbow with the civ from time to time and would be disappointed if they got removed from the civ. There is some cool synergy where infantry breastplate buffs both shotels and xbow. If the goal is to cut down on redundancies of the civ’s unit roster then probably half of the unit roster would need to be cut.

There was a build I saw someone do that was something like trinity → jesuit influence → Fasilides Castle → cannoneer shipment while massing war hut units and I think training a couple of abuns. You train the cannoneers with the Fasilides Castle. It seems like a decent way to get a cannoneer mass out with complementary war hut units though it will be slightly nerfed next patch with the cannoneer shipment but probably still decent. Could maybe work in stagecoach instead of abuns if it’s a good tp map.

I agree it would be cool if it buffed the abun build limit by +1. I don’t currently like using it for the reason that it limits the abun boom potential by 1 while being worse for the immediate eco than 4 vills.

The civ is already able to train missionaries from the church.

The one thing I like using India for is using the age up influence for an extra falconet for a cannon push with the market techs as a plus but that is likely only decent in 1v1.

I think thats a good idea but the tech would definitely need to be more expensive.

Seems like a nice idea.

My understanding is the reason Taboot got nerfed from 1k coin to 900 coin is there was a tourney game where one player went to age 4 as Ethiopia and spammed shadowteching nats with shadowteching merc shipments with no map control by rebuilding the monastery with the card. What you propose would bring it back to the level it was before it was nerfed (1k coin per 150 wood) while making it easier to micro since you would not have to rebuild it as often.

Another thing to note is you could build 5 monasteries in age 4 before getting Taboot (6 with your proposed change to Labibela Rock Church). The cost increase does not matter for the first batch of coin if they are already built before you get Taboot.

It’s still free goats. Combine it with Moroccan Leathers and you can focus on eating goats and reserve cows for selling. You kinda need both sources to do that effectively.

If you’re pushing successfully then the front line is going to shift forwards and there will be Monasteries behind the front that can be collected from.

Increasing the cost of Monasteries also disincentives putting them on the frontlines.

That would make the card really bad. Best case scenario it would only be about as good as a gold mine if you waited until age 4.

I’m saying it should. I don’t see why it would be an issue to give different yields for the different gathering modes.

That is only relavent in age 5 and only if you pick Arabs. Mercenaries are also only a fraction of what you need to spend influence on. Cannons and techs are not affected by any of what you’re saying and they’re in the same boat as Hausa for natives.

You get infinite influence from buildings you should be constructing anyways. That’s way easier than giving up half your coin to get a finite amount of influence.

I’m aware that they’re OP in treaty so I’d be fine with lowering all the rates across the board for the late game. Most of that late game influence comes from livestock anyways. The problem is that in a normal game their influence generation is really terrible compared to Hausa since it’s finite and requires giving up coin. All their strong strategies involve shipping it and Monasteries are often set to pure coin.

Overall I’d like to see Monasteries have a consistent function and not be repeatedly smashed and rebuild or Abuns losing half their functionality because Monasteries have run dry. I think something that achieves that is possible, it just needs the right rates and bonuses to be properly balanced. Your feedback is really helpful for determining where to make those adjustments to achieve a balanced result.

That is not a solution, it is ignoring the problem. Hausa gets to use them for a much higher value building so it should be consistent.

After one upgrade they’d be at 300w which could be marginally viable depending on how much you value influence. It’s probably still a small loss but not nearly as bad as spending 400 resources on a building that costs only 150.

I believe they’re just Portuguese Priests. Same outfit, but they don’t have a donkey. It would only really matter if they actually made Missionaries interesting and gave them the conversion ability.

For sure, anywhere there are buffs the costs should be adjusted accordingly.

There’s room for adjustments. I’d be fine with 1800c/300w or even less. It could just be clawed back by making Ark of the Covenant boost yields more to compensate.

Genuine question: what makes them OP in treaty? I have played Ethiopia more than any one other civ since DE released and I have always found them to be lacklustre in the late game due to what feels like a weakish late game economy to me, especially with how they struggle with Influence compared to the Hausa. Granted, I don’t think I play them to their full potential even after all this time, and I don’t play treaty at all, so there are probably many strategies with them that I have never thought of and I’m curious to hear about them.